Re: Re: Architectural heritage of Limerick

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@Pot Noodle wrote:

I find nothing of interest in these buildings they look like they were slapped up

These are definitely in a very sad state of affairs but if only these walls could talk………..

One possible explanation for the crooked brick-boundary-line between the house “Taste of Europe” and its neighbour to the right, was the result of a gunpowder explosion at Richardson’s Gunsmith Warehouse (corner George Street / Denmark Street).

See shaded buildings on map from Limerick Museum.

The Limerick Leader published an article about it recently.

Gunpowder Explosion

ON THE 3rd January, 1837, a catastrophe of a most lamentable character occurred in Limerick by an explosion of gunpowder in the premises of one William Richardson, a gun maker and vendor of gunpowder, No. 1 George Street. Eleven persons were killed by this explosion – viz., Margaret McMahon, John McMahon, Bridget O’Donoghue, John O’Brien, Patrick Doolan, Mary Barry, John Enright, Bridget Doolan, John McMahon and Michael O’Neill, a watchman.(Though eleven were mentioned as being killed only ten people were named in the article.)

Interestingly on the linked map above, at the entrance of Arthur’s Quay, there is a sketch of where a front beam of Richardson’s House that killed Dr. Hanly / Dr. Healy? Could he be the eleventh person?

The cause of the catastrophe could never be clearly ascertained, as the only person in the part of the house where the gunpowder lay was blown up and his body torn to pieces.

The terrific details of this dreadful affair cause a shudder of horror whenever they are brought to memory, while the miraculous escape which some respectable families had from being involved in the worst consequences of the explosion is referred to the special agency of Providence.

Every effort was made by the Mayor and magistrates to mitigate the sufferings of the survivors. A deputation laid the matter before the Lord Lieutenant, who gave his active sympathies, and a public subscription was raised to which everyone contributed.

There were four persons under the roof at the time, three of whom were killed, while a young man named Jeskey, an apprentice, escaped with his life, though he had been blown to a great height and came down senseless in the street at a considerable distance.

At the house No. 2 George Street, the widow of Michael Ryan, one of the most extensive and esteemed merchants in the city, resided with her family, two sons, a daughter and sister-in-law.

They were all in bed, being instantly stunned, after lying unconscious under the ruins for an house. The first recital or perception that Mrs. Ryan remembered was hearing her daughter, Barbara, a child of eight years old, who slept with her, crying, “Mamma, where are you?”

They were at the time buried in the debris. A long and fruitless search had been made for them. It was suggested they had gone to the country.

Further exertions were about being relinquished when the almost inaudible cries of the child were heard under the ruins. Efforts were again made and the child was heard to cry to “take care of Mamma,” whose collar-bone had been broken, their persons having been overwhelmed in rubbish between the shop and the underground apartment, yet supported by two doors having come together in their fall so as to form an arch over them.

The legs and feet, however, were so crushed that they could not change their position. One of the sons, William, was blown up in the air on the mattress on which he was sleeping and came down in the street with it blazing around him, he asleep all the while. He sustained no injury.

The elder brother was not blown up but the corner of the floor whereupon his bed stood could be seen for days after from the street, like a shelf without support, attached to the tottering wall.

Mrs. Catherine Ryan, sister-in-law of Mrs. Ryan, had no perception of anything having happened until the next morning when she found herself in a public-house in Arthur’s Quay, having been blown out, so stunned as to be senseless, buried under a heap of rubbish, and lying for an hour in the street with a beam of timber over her.

A servant, who slept in the room next to Mrs. Catherine Ryan, the sister-in-law of Mrs. Ryan, was blown into the hall of the house No. 3, belonging to Mr. Wm. Wilson. Mr. Ellard, who resided near the corner of Denmark Street, opposite Richardson’s was lifted off the ground and with a whirling motion dashed across the street and buried under a heap of rubbish, from which he was dug out. His respectable family had a very narrow escape as had also the family of Mr. Thomas Tracy, who lived at No. 13, of Mr. J. Hallowell, No. 10, and Mr. J. Burke, No. 18, etc., etc.

The gas throughout the city was on this occasion extinguished and windows were broken on the north Strand, at the opposite side of the Shannon. The verdict of the coroner’s jury throws blame on the incautious manner in which Richardson had exposed the gunpowder for sale.

Of Mrs. Ryan’s two sons, Edmond and William, Edmond was Mayor of Limerick in 1846 and in 1865 RM of Middleton, Co. Cork, and William was drowned.

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